Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vogue 8799 - In Review

Yes, I'm trying to crank out as many 2013 reviews as I can before the new year begins. There are still at least a dozen projects that won't be reviewed before the new year. RATS! I've got to do better in 2014.

Here is Vogue 8799 in review.  

Pattern Description: MISSES' JACKET, TOP, DRESS, SKIRT AND PANTS: Loose-fitting, unlined jacket has collar, elastic back, and two-piece sleeves with elastic forming ruching effect/slit, and topstitching. Fitted top or dress has seam detail and back zipper. C: back slit. Semi-fitted skirt or straight-legged pants have self-lined yokes. D: pleated lower back. A, B, C and D: lined. B, C, D and E: stitched hems.  

Pattern Sizing: 6 to 22. I used size 16 with modifications. Views A and E.  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Nothing confusing or difficult. I would say that is should be rated as average instead of easy. All views are lined except for the pants. The casing for the ruched sleeves and the elasticized waist of the jacket are done between the jacket and the lining. The dress and the top have extra seaming in the side front and side back panels that must line up at the side seams. Instructions are clear, but executing them is another story.  

What did you like or dislike about the pattern? This is another pattern I purchased for the jacket. I liked the ruching on the sleeves. Of course the princess seams make it easy to make adjustments. The curved waistband is always a welcomed plus. It fit nicely across the tummy area. I wish I had installed a zipper along the center front of the jacket. I find myself wanting to hold the front closed. The model is holding the front or moving one jacket front to the side. She is also wearing a belt in one of the photos. My dislike: center back zippers in pants. I installed it on the side.

Fabric Used: Polyester gabardine for the Textile Warehouse.  

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did a FBA. The waist of the jacket is elasticized; so I did not need to make a sway back adjustment. I didn't need to do a prominent shoulder blade adjustment. I started with size 16 and this jacket is kind of boxy across the back. I had plenty of room in the upper back area.  
I added about four inches to the length of the pants and about an inch to the length of the sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I'd like to make the jacket in leather. Yes I do recommend it to others. It goes together with no problems. The only caution would be to take your time making the casing for the elastic in the sleeves. It's done after the sleeve and the lining is put together. So make sure your markings are clear.

 Conclusion: This is a nice wardrobe pattern. The jacket and the pants sew up with no problem. It's worth a try if you like to style.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Butterick 5928 - Still Needs A Little Work

I hesitated on posting a review for this jacket because I wanted to try it again to work out the kinks. I wasn't completely satisfied with the shape of the sleeves, the finished hem, and the fit in the bust area.

It is rated as very easy. There are some elements that I think may be challenging for a beginner: it's a lined jacket with two pivot points at the neck area that require accuracy for balance across the shoulders and neck area.

 I couldn't find any reviews on it in blog land or on Pattern Review. So I guess I'm the first person to post a review on it. Maybe ours have tried it but have not shared their experience. That being said, I hope my review is helpful.  

Pattern Description: MISSES' VEST AND JACKET: Fitted, lined vest or jacket has front extending into drape and back collar, shoulder pleats, princess seams, and shaped hemline. Lining shows on hemline.  

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 22; I used size 14 with "not enough" modifications.  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did. I made view A with the sleeves of view D.  

Were the instructions easy to follow? There was nothing difficult or confusing about the instructions.  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? From the moment I saw it in the Butterick pattern catalog, I knew I would make it. I liked the draped collar and the back peplum. These were the two design elements that drew me to this jacket. I disliked some of the construction steps: #25 Stitching the front, neck and lower edges to the lining. You can't understitch to ensure that the jacket is slightly pulled to the inside. The inside of the drape shows in one of the smooth pleats along the front.  I ended up rolling and pressing the edges slightly to the inside so the lining would not show. #28 Baste armhole edges together. I like to set the sleeve in the jacket to the jacket only. Then attach the lining. Finally, I didn't like to one piece sleeve. I think it should be two pieces. Just my personal preference.  

Fabric Used: I purchased this nubby mystery blend (definitely some natural fibers included)from the Textile Warehouse. It was priced at $6.00 per yard. Because it was stained on the edge, I got it for $3.00 per year instead. It has a soft hand and feels good against the skin.  

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made my usual FBA and back adjustments (swayback) not included in the illustration, plus I added width to the sleeve. All of which did not proof a great fitting jacket. Above the fullness of the bust, there is a little fabric "bunching". I don't like it and it just doesn't feel right. Maybe a bigger FBA would help, but I think I'll end up with a lot of excess fabric above the bust. Second, either there is issue with the shape of the sleeve or I have more fat on the back of my upper arm than I care to admit. Third, there is too much ease in the sleeve cap.  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I will. The issues cited are minor and can be tweaked. This first try is not a total failure. I can wear the jacket. In fact, I received a lot of compliments when I wore it earlier this month. For those who plan to make it, make a muslin first. Choose a fabric similar to your fashion fabric.  

Conclusion: I don't agree that this an very easy pattern to sew. That implies a beginner could sew with no problems. Average may be a better rating, given it is a lined jacket and there is some pivoting required around the neck that could be challenging for a beginner to get sharp points and balance between the two pivot points. Make a muslin before you cut into your fashion fabric.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Rhonda's Perfect Travel Dress In Review

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. For weeks, I have anxiously waited for this time. The university is closed from Christmas to New Year's day. That is a treat in itself. So, it's a good time to post more reviews, sew, and get some sleep.

Today I am reviewing Rhonda's Perfect Travel dress. She posted how to make it back in October, 2012. Finally, I started on it two days before Christmas, finishing it at 2:00am on Christmas Eve. It took about four hours to sew, with the sewing, turning and threading the cords taking the most time. All in all, this was a great dress to make. I must also add, it's more than the perfect travel dress. It's a great party dress too.

This first rendition was for my daughter. She is my principal model for testing design and drapy. The next one I'll make will be for my sister. She has been dying for this dress since I posted a picture of it on Facebook.

Pattern Description: The dress pattern consist of five pattern pieces: bodice front and back, skirt, neckband, and cord. It can be described as pullover dress, loose-fitting through bust,with neck band. The sleeves are wide with shirring cords anchored at the sides of the neck band continuing along the shoulder to the end of the sleeve. The skirt is close fitting, straight with shirring cords along the sides. This dress can also be worn as a top.

Pattern Sizing: You determine the sizing with measurements from mid shoulder to waist and the circumference of the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. My dress is very close to the design lines of Rhonda's posted dress. The neckline of her dress is wider, but you can easily accomplish this by increasing the width of the neckline.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were good. Nothing difficult or confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the shirring along the sleeves and skirt.  

Fabric Used: Plum jersey knit with moderate stretch from Vogue on Roosevelt. I got it from the remnant room. It was about two yards in length. I just had enough to finish the dress.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: There are a few things I'd like to point out. For the neckline, I followed the instructions. It was not a large as shown in Rhonda's version and the hole was not wide enough to easily fit your head through it.  So I increased the width by 1 inch on the front and back, 1/2 inch on either side.  Then, I increased the depth of the front curve by 1 inch with the center front being 1 1/2 inch as the lowest point. So to get the exact neckline as Rhonda's top, you may have to play around  with the neckline measurements.  For the cord casings, make sure you sew them about 1/8" wider than the width of the cord to ensure easy threading and adjusting of the shirring. You may need slightly larger seam allowance (6/8").

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. I will make this dress in red for my sister sometime in the next week or so. (I think, ;-) )

Conclusion: This is the perfect travel dress. It's knit and won't wrinkle on a long flight. This dress can also be the perfect party dress. The shirring and length options are endless.  It can double as a hip length top or a knee grazing tunic. I think it is definitely worth a try.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Comfy Top with McCall 6571

Today's review is on a knit top, McCall 6571. I considered waiting until I made the other views of this pattern, but decided to go ahead with this review as I have many more to do.

I guess you've noticed by now that I've made quite a few knit tops. One reason is I needed some new tops and other reason is I don't have a lot of time to sew. So the quick and easy projects are very appealing. This is another Palmer/Pletsch pattern with convenient adjustment lines drawn on the pattern. It makes it so easy to alter to fit.  

NOTE: Top pictured with Vogue 2948, Sandra Betzina pants, which I will view at a later date.  

Pattern Description:
MISSES' TOPS AND PANTS: Close-fitting, pullover tops have neckline variations, below elbow or long sleeves and narrow hems. Fitted, straight-legged or slightly flared pants have elastic waist and no side seams.  

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes from 6 to 22; I used 14 with modifications. Note of caution. The sizing of the top runs small. Typically, McCall knit top have a finished bust at 38". But this one finishes with 37". So you want to compensate for the difference when you do your FBA.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. I think the drawing has a little more shaping at the waist than the actual pattern. But for the most part it looks like the photo and drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, the instructions were easy and helpful. Typical Palmer/Pletsch instructions with helpful tips and fit information.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I purchased this pattern for the view I made, view A. I liked the shallow "V" neck t-shirt. My dislike is how the neckline is finished with front and back facings. I would have liked a narrow band to finish it. If you use a medium weight knit with moderate stretch, the facings are a little bulky.

Fabric Used:
I used a remnant from a previous project. The fabric was purchased at Vogue Fabrics several years ago. It's maroon and not in my color palette, but the color does work for me. ;-)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my usually full bust, prominent shoulder blade, and swayback adjustments. For the swayback adjustment I also adding darts to the back. The horizontal tuck was not enough to bring the top closer to my lower back. Sorry the photos aren't that great. You can barely see the darts. Also, I used the long sleeves from view B, instead of the 3/4 length sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, this t-shirt is a great wardrobe builder. I also plan to make the other views. And yes I recommend this pattern. It's perfect for beginners. It will help new sewers perfecting their fit technique for a t-shirt and simple knit pants.

This pattern is a great wardrobe builder. It is easy to sew and is great for beginners. This teaching pattern will help perfect alteration techniques for future projects. This is a keeper (TNT).

All photos are on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Green Is My Color - McCall's 6797 & Rhonda's Godet Skirt

Good evening my friends and followers,

Last year I had a color analysis at the Palmer/Pletsch retreat.  I just love the handy little color palette.  It conveniently fits in your pocket or purse.  I carry with me when I shop for fabric.  It is also handy for creating color palette combinations.

Anyway, while shopping at Vogue, I found a couple of beautiful green fabrics.  Perfect for a quick outfit.  So I decided to make McCall's 6797 and try another Rhonda Buss design.  Today's reviews are in the green.  

BTW-Getting decent pictures is becoming more of a challenge.    The ole work schedule is still getting in the way of sewing and all things related.  McCall's 6797 has been on my list since I saw it on the McCall's catalog last spring.

I am very pleased with the results.  It turned out better than McCall's 6400, which I made three times in 2011.  Palmer/Pletsch did a great job with explaining how to do a full bust adjustment.  Additionally, it includes a back pattern.  So without further delay, here is my review of McCall's 6797.

Pattern Description: MISSES' TOPS: Pullover tops (loose-fitting through bust) have neck band, front/back extending into right sleeve forming drape, shaped hemline and narrow hem. A: armhole band.

Pattern Sizing: XS to XXL; I used size M.  Review B.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it did.    I compared my top to the photo on the envelope.  I noticed that shoulder seam is slightly beyond the shoulder bone on the model.  My fits the same way.  For the next top I'll reduce the length of the shoulder so that the end of it rest on the bone.  I think the extended length is good for view A.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were.  Excellent instructions with some great tips.  I've always loved how they include detailed instructions on how to do the FBA.  In this case, they were very helpful. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? My likes:  the style, the instructions, and how easy it was to construct the top.  No real dislikes - I mentioned to shoulder seam being a little long but that easy to fix.

Fabric Used:  Novelty polyester knit from Vogue on Roosevelt Road.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:I made if FBA.  I reduced the alterations for my bust because this is a stretchy knit.  Unlike woven fabrics I find that if I do the usual alteration, it's too much excess fabric across the bust area.  I also added about 1 1/2" to the sleeve length.  It's a little too much and I had to tuck it under.  I'll make the adjustment later.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Oh yes, I will definitely sew it again and I do recommend it to others.  It's a great top for beginners, especially those who want to understand how to make adjustments.  Palmer/Pletsch includes them for front and back fit adjustments.

Conclusion:   I really like how this top fits and looks.  It was easy to adjust the pattern and PP provided good instructions and great tips.

My second review is on another Rhonda Buss design.  A few months ago, Rhonda wore this cute skirt to the Haute Couture Club meeting.  I really liked it and wanted to try it for myself.  When I asked about how she made the godets at the hem, I forgot to ask about the waist and how she finished it.  I just assumed she added elastic to finish the waist.

Here's my review on how I made my rendition of Rhonda's Godet knit skirt.

First, I wanted to make sure I make the proper reference to the style and details of the skirt.  I looked up godet.  It's basically an extra piece of fabric added to the hem of a dress or skirt to add fullness.

Pattern Description:  
I describe this skirt as a below the knee, knit skirt with an elastic waist; rectangle godets at the hem.

Pattern Sizing:  You measure it.  I started with my hip measurement as the fullest part of the skirt.  From 10 inches below the waistline, I tapered up to the waist reducing it by 2 inches on each side.  The front and back are cut the same.  The length is just below my knee.

The instructions  I sewed the front and back together from the top to about 8" from the bottom.  This is done to both sides.  The godet size that I used was 16 1/2" X 7".  I cut a little slit to mark where I wanted to stop/start sewing at the side slits on the skirt.  This is the half mark in the godet.  I attached half of the godet to each side of the skirt front and back on both sides.  Press all seams open.  Next, I finished the hem using mitered corners for each side of the godet.  To finish the waist, I made a casing leaving about 3 inches to insert 1" unroll elastic.  The length should be 2" smaller than you waist.  I just wrapped the elastic around my waist to fit then reduce the length by the about 2".  Thread elastic through casing, overlap and stitch.  Then close opening in casing.

I love how the skirt turned out and will definitely make it again.  Try it.  Play around with the length of the skirt and the width and length of the godets.  I used a novelty knit from Vogue.  It's similar to the knit that Rhonda used.

I recommend drafting your own little knit skirt.  It's easy and takes very little time.  I was able to finish mine from start to finish in 1 1/2 hours.

Friday, December 6, 2013

McCall 6562 - Still Reviewing Sewing from Warmer Days

Today's review is on another top made during the summer months. This is one of the tops I made for vacation. The funny thing is I ended up not taking it. Soon I'll review some season appropriate garments.

BTW-Just looking at the photos has got me wishing for warmer days. It's predicted that temperatures will be in the single digits tomorrow morning. Grrr!

Pattern Description:
MISSES' LINED TOPS: Pullover, bias, lined tops have gathered front variations, left side zipper and very narrow hems. B: purchased pin. A,B and C: fitted; right shoulder pleats. D: unlined sleeve. E: bias overlay. Ruffle C and overlay E: wrong side shows. D and E: close-fitting.

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes XS to XXL; I made size medium with modifications. View C.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were fine. These tops are cut on the bias. So after I cut it out I pinned it to a hanger for a few days. Then I sewed it together except for the hem. I let it hang again before truing up the hem and hemming it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
My Likes: the pleating on the shoulder, the little ruffle over the strap. No real dislikes.

Fabric Used:
I used a silky polyester print and a silky polyester solid for the lining. Both were purchased at Hancock's.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a FBA similar to this. I installed an invisible zipper. Note: You may need to adjustment to placement of the strap so it covers your bra strap/sits on a comfortable area of your back and shoulder.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I also like view E. I may sew it next year. Yes I do recommend it to others.

Conclusion: This is a cute top that perfect for warm weather.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

McCall's 6752 Drape Top In Review

This is a popular pattern and there are quite a few reviews posted on Patternreview. One reviewer stated that this maybe one of the best patterns of 2013. I made two of view A late summer and plan to make view C next year. I considered not posting a review on this because so many have reviewed it and I may not have anything more to add. But for the purpose of cataloging the sewing project I decided to post my review.

Pattern Description:
MISSES' TOPS AND DRESSES: Pullover tops and dresses have neckline variations, and elasticized (seamed) waist. A: lower left side gathers and exposed zipper. A and B: loose-fitting . C: elasticized side seams on lower section. C and D: very loose-fitting, gathered (bias front) bodice. B and D: semi-fitted skirt. Stitched hem A, C and sleeves B. Narrow hem back neckline A, B and neckline/armholes C and D.

Pattern Sizing:
6 to 22; I used a 16 with modifications

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did. My blue version has the zipper on the opposite side, but yes the top looked like the photo.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy; nothing difficult about them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
My Likes: drape neckline and the exposed zipper Dislikes: None

Fabric Used:
Brown - Couture Knit from Vogue Fabrics and Blue - Jersey knit from Supreme Novelty on Fulton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my usual FBA and Prominent Shoulder Blade adjustment. I could have skipped the FBA since I used the size 16. The FBA caused the drape to fall a little too low for my taste. At the waist I increased the seam allowance and trimmed off the excess before attaching the band. The lower half was still too loose around the waist (brown version). So for the blue version I scaled it down a little more; from middle bust through the waist and upper hips, between sizes 14 and 12. In retrospect, I think I could have used size 14 with a FBA.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I plan to sew view C. Yes, I do recommend it.

Conclusion: This is an easy, stylish top to sew. A beginner should be able to make it with no problems. I really like it and recommend it to others. Additional photos can be found on Flickr.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm Back - First Review In Months Simplicity 1539

Yes, I'm back after too many weeks without blogging. For weeks I've been thinking about what to talk about when I finally returned. Truly I've missed it. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I sorted though the patterns I've sewn counting over fifteen review to do. Many are from the summer. So, it's going to be a little strange reviewing patterns from the hot sticky months of July and August. But I think I'd better do it now before the year ends.

Today, I'm start with one of my fall outfits that I sewed in early October, Simplicity 1539 knit top and a self-drafted skirt. Peplum tops and jackets continue to be on trend. I'm glad because the peplum helps create an illusion of a curvier me in the hip area. ;-)  

Pattern Description:
Misses' knit tunic or top with bodice & sleeve length variation. View A, B, C twist front, D,E peplum and knot detail, F plain bodice with peplum. Make in 3/4, short sleeves or sleeveless. Knits only. I made view F with long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 4 to 22. I used size 16. It turned out to be too big on me. More on that in the alterations section.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, basically.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
There was nothing confusing in the instructions. They were pretty easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
There were a few things I liked about this pattern: exposed zipper, peplum,and the asymmetric hem of view F. I also liked the style of view E and I'm considering making that as well.

Fabric Used:
I used a rayon blend knit from Joann's. It has a soft hand and has some shimmery thread in it, not the itchy kind. The color is one of the oranges identified in my color palette.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I started with a size 16. Lately, the 14 (in some cases) has been a little tight. But 16 in this pattern was not the best choice for me. The 14 would have been perfect with the FBA and a small prominent shoulder blade adjustment. Because I didn't make a muslin, I had to work with the modified 16. I made the FBA and added the bust darts. I stitched the shoulder seams and pinned the side seams. It was huge. I added waist darts for shaping and deepen the side seams, trimmed about an 1/4" from the upper armscye because the shoulder seam was too long. After all of that, it was still a little loose below the bust through the waist area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will probably sew one of the other reviews. And I do recommend it to others. You may want to make a muslin before cutting into you fashion fabric. I think this pattern runs a little big.

Conclusion: I like this top. The peplum creates curvier hips for me and that's a plus. The pattern is not difficult to sew and goes together with no problems.

The second part of this post is my review of a little self-drafted knit skirt. The fabric came from the remnant room at Vogue. I thought the fabric was interesting and would be perfect for a little straight skirt with an elasticized waist. I also wanted the skirt to follow the same asymmetric hem as the top with a little slit on the side. It was simple to make.

I begin by measuring my hips. I used that measurement to determine the widest part of the skirt. For the waist, I removed some of the width to reduce buck at the waist. No definitely width because I made my adjustments as I fitted throughout the sewing process. In conclusion this was a great way to use short yardage.

I'm pleased with my quick and easy knit skirt. All photos are on Flickr here and here.

Happy Sewing, ladies! C


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